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A story that transcends sports

edited July 14 in Football

If Covid emphasized one thing about sports, it is that we can live without them. We all know this truth anyway, but it is easy to get swept away in the passion of the game, and assign a greater meaning to football (or any sport) than it deserves, until something somber and real comes along to adjust the perspective. There was a time early on in the pandemic when it seemed almost irreverent to talk about or speculate on football, or at least difficult to strike an appropriate tone, given what was going on in the world around us.

And yet for all that, there are also aspects of sports which can transcend the mere game. Persistence against the odds, unity, togetherness, fighting spirit, and all of those other virtues which have been exemplified by this Wycombe team. There are times when things happen in such a sequence of perfection, and stunning achievements are set against such an unlikely backdrop, that something deeper resonates, and genuine inspiration can be taken from what has unfolded.

I am proud of this team, as we all are, but so much more proud of them for the team spirit and character they have shown, than the achievement itself. We are a special club not because we are being promoted (this happens every year, after all) nor even because we are being promoted as a relatively tiny club (this also happens sometimes), but because of the people who are involved. From GA, Dobbo and these fantastic players and staff, to Matt Cecil and the top notch media team, to the new charming and enthusiastic ownership of the Couhigs, to the volunteers, to the likes of Phil Catchpole, Bill Turnbull, Marcus Bean, and all of us fans, it is the people who make us what we are.

The game itself is an endless cycle - for who knows where we will be in five years, ten years or twenty? But the characters remain, whether in person or in memory, and I am so thrilled that the special group of people who comprise this unique football club are now forever immortalized together in this shining moment.

Comments

  • Pitch perfect @Shev.

    This is really all about them and what GA and Dobbo have built around them . We are lucky in a way that it’s at little Wycombe Wanderers but then little Wycombe Wanderers may have been the only Petri dish where the environment was right for it to grow as it has.

    In a way, the absence of us, the fans, last night was fitting. It should be all about them. Some of them I’m sure we’ll never see in a Wycombe shirt again but I hope the club find a way to bring them back sometime so we can say goodbye and a proper thank you.

  • That Shev some it up perfect for me. Rough night didn't sleep well but SO EXCITED. Championship football. My son who supports QPR tells me he is looking forward to 6 points. Yea right watch this space.

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  • I really hope that someone will be able to put in to words just how incredible this story is. Sky Sports couldn't do it last night and I've not seen a press report yet that does either.
    What this group has achieved is simply unbelievable and even with my biased eyes surely one of the greatest achievements in sport. Maybe an ESPN 30 for 30 is in order.

  • Yes and those players, old gits that some of them are HAVE earned the right to play in the Championship, possibly the last season for some of them and I reckon they might surprise everyone! Stewart, Gape, Fred, Grimmer and Wheeler could all do a job higher up. Exciting times!

  • It's an achievement worthy of a Sports Personality of the Year award.

  • @Right_in_the_Middle said:
    I really hope that someone will be able to put in to words just how incredible this story is. Sky Sports couldn't do it last night and I've not seen a press report yet that does either.
    What this group has achieved is simply unbelievable and even with my biased eyes surely one of the greatest achievements in sport. Maybe an ESPN 30 for 30 is in order.

    This'll be some read:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1785317172/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_MZwdFbWMX6P9X

  • Today's Guardian has done a pretty good job of putting it into words:
    By the time Gareth Ainsworth lifted the trophy aloft, his open-neck navy shirt was soaked through, saturated from the champagne his Wycombe players showered over him in delirium. They had every reason, too, for Joe Jacobson had scored the winning goal from the penalty spot with 11 minutes remaining to elevate a team tipped for relegation into the second tier for the first time in the club’s 133-year history.
    Last week Ainsworth could not help but smile in disbelief as he said the words aloud but Wycombe will be playing in the Championship next season after a gutsy performance edged out Oxford.
    For a team confined to non-league until 1993 and one that started the season with nine players, two of whom were trialists, it is a remarkable achievement. If ever there was an image that underlined the spirit running through a tight-knit squad it was the sight of Cameron Yates, the third-choice goalkeeper and yet to make a league appearance, in floods of tears half an hour after the final whistle, his chin resting on his knuckles.
    Another striking scene was during the first drinks break, when backroom staff and every substitute joined the huddle to hang on the every word of Ainsworth, their rock-star, scraggly-haired manager in red cowboy boots. It was worth him canning band practice after all.
    “I will have to call next Monday’s off as well but the Cold Blooded Hearts will be back soon,” he said. “I belted out the national anthem so I’m hoping that got noticed. This is a Wycombe Wanderers’ greatest hit by a million miles. It’s rock ’n’ roll time.”
    Ainsworth prepared his side for the occasion by widening their pitch at training to replicate the surface here and they appeared the more comfortable side during an entertaining first half. There were nail-biting moments, with Anthony Stewart, who opened the scoring with a towering header, marvelling in defence, twice denying Mark Sykes with last-ditch interventions. But Sykes found an equaliser midway through the second half when his overcooked cross looped in, catching the Wycombe goalkeeper Ryan Allsop cold.
    Ainsworth puffed out his cheeks but his team’s belief did not die despite Oxford going close to taking the lead with Allsop twice denying Rob Dickie.
    The drama continued when Simon Eastwood, the Oxford goalkeeper, flattened an onrushing Fred Onyedinma. Jacobson dispatched the spot-kick to complete a truly heartwarming tale and hoist Wycombe into the Championship against all odds.
    “We probed and pushed for 95% of the game, but didn’t take full advantage,” said Karl Robinson, the Oxford manager. “The game sometimes isn’t fair as all the things that were out of our control today, didn’t fall for us.
    “Take nothing away from Wycombe, they full deserve the victory and to go up. But it’s two errors from us that will cause us nightmares for weeks to come. The penalty incident almost seemed to happen in slow motion. Right now, it feels like one of the lowest moments in my career.”

  • Karl Robinson, the Oxford manager. “The game sometimes isn’t fair as all the things that were out of our control today, didn’t fall for us"

    What is he talking about here?

    Also anyone got a screenshot of his look across to the celebrating Wycombe players when he was interviewed on Sky Sports? He was absolutely seething.

  • Lovely stuff @Shev. I can't even begin to put my feelings into words yet.

  • Brilliant stuff @Shev

  • @OakwoodExile said:
    Brilliant stuff @Shev

    Indeed.

  • @StrongestTeam said:

    @Right_in_the_Middle said:
    I really hope that someone will be able to put in to words just how incredible this story is. Sky Sports couldn't do it last night and I've not seen a press report yet that does either.
    What this group has achieved is simply unbelievable and even with my biased eyes surely one of the greatest achievements in sport. Maybe an ESPN 30 for 30 is in order.

    This'll be some read:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1785317172/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_MZwdFbWMX6P9X

    Or for next season an English version of 'The Miracle of Castel di Sangro', a book by Joe McGinniss about a small Italian team that made it up to Serie B in the late 1990s

    https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/779889.The_Miracle_of_Castel_di_Sangro

  • I'm pretty sure I heard Karl Robinson say something to the effect " We topped every statistic in that game".

    Check the papers Karl, it says:-
    League 1 Play-Off Score
    Wycombe 2 - Oxford 1 (FT)

    That's the only statistic which matters now.

    👍 👎 ( 3 )
  • Hi guys. Reading fan in peace. Congratulations and welcome to the Championship. Good luck for all but 2 games next season.

    👍 👎 ( 7 )
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